Karanveer Singh, from Wolverhampton in the Midlands, lost his trading licence in August after Trading Standards bosses seized illegal cigarettes and unregulated Viagra-like tablets from his offlicense. Officers found 969 100mg Sildenafil Citrate pills with no patient instructions or warnings (Photo: Christopher Furlong/Getty Images).


By Nadeem Badshah

BRITISH Asians risk suffering from severe health problems by buying unlicensed viagra from south Asia, experts have warned.

Eastern Eye found versions of the impotence medicine from India with 10 pills sold online for around £40.

Another firm was selling Kamagra, often exported from India, and a cheaper alternative for 79p a pill and 76p for viagra aimed at women. So-called Brand Viagra was also offered for £2.57 per pill.

Health experts have warned that medication from overseas could be fake and has not been tested in the UK.

Viagra Connect is being sold at chemists and registered online pharmacies without a prescription for around £4 a pill since last year. But some men are feared to be buying the drug online or during trips to the Indian sub-continent to keep it a secret.

Hemant Patel, secretary of the North East London Pharmaceutical Committee, told Eastern Eye: “The quality of viagra from pharmacies is guaranteed and regulated.

“Pharmacists are legally obliged to maintain confidence and support you by making sure that Viagra does not interact with other medicines you are taking.

“There are many reported cases of people buying viagra on internet that has only sugar in them. Others contain impurities that can damage health.

“If you do not want to speak to your regular pharmacist, contact another to get quality assured products, but do not put your money and health at risk.”

Impotence can be caused by what the pharmacists call “the metabolic syndrome” owing to drinking too much alcohol and a poor diet, or including too much rice, chapatis and potatoes.

Patel added a healthier diet improves erectile dysfunction, blood pressure, diabetes and heart rhythm problems.

In Britain alone, more than £50 million worth of illegal Viagra has been seized over the past five years. Around 4.7 million unlicensed pills were found in 2018 by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), compared to around 4.6 million in 2017.

Dr Kiran Patel, from the South Asian Health Foundation, said the organisation’s “stance is to never buy unlicensed medication for any condition.”

Professor Mahendra Patel, an honorary visiting professor in pharmacy at the University of Bradford, said unlicensed versions of Viagra can cause breathing problems and trigger allergic reactions. “You don’t know if the source is legitimate and what’s the product’s quality and standard.

“You don’t know if it fits the standard in this country and if any impurities are being used and how much of the drug there is. It can cause problems if it’s not from bonafide sources such as GPs or bought over the counter.

“That way you know it meets the required stringent standards of the MHRA.”

Some unlicensed viagra from Asia is ending up on sale in Britain.

Karanveer Singh, from Wolverhampton in the Midlands, lost his trading licence in August after Trading Standards bosses seized illegal cigarettes and unregulated Viagra-like tablets from his off-license. Officers found 969 100mg Sildenafil Citrate pills with no patient instructions or warnings.

Last year Asif Patel and Naushad Gaffar were jailed after being caught with over £5 million worth of counterfeit drugs, including viagra and steroids. The pair, from Leicester, imported medicines for erectile dysfunction and premature ejaculation from the Indian subcontinent.

More than half of British adults said they had bought medicines online, according to a recent survey by the Alliance for Safe Online Pharmacy. And around one in 10 people have ended up with fakes after buying online in the past year, government figures show.

Operation Pangea, an annual week of action led by Interpol to tackle the trade in fake pharmaceuticals in 116 countries, resulted in 859 arrests, 409,000 packages being seized and 123 illicit websites being shut down last year.

The MHRA said many cure for erectile problems “are not genuine – they are unauthorised generic versions which cannot be legally traded in UK and, as their contents are unknown, may cause harm.”

It added: “When purchasing online, look for the Distance Selling Logo.

“A medicine must hold a relevant marketing authorisation (MA) (a product licence) to allow its legal sale or supply in the UK. The MA guarantees that the medicine meets set standards of quality and is safe to use.

“Medicines that do not hold a marketing authorisation cannot be guaranteed to meet quality and safety standards – there is no way of knowing what they contain nor what their effect on your health may be.

“Don’t gamble with your health, look after yourself.”